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MMQB: Feelin’ Moody

The Wolverines manage to survive one heck of a fight from the Hoosiers.

Indiana v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

I feel like my anxiety is still through the roof. Michigan felt in control for most of that game, but after Iowa in 2016, you can’t help but fret.

The Wolverines played a pretty solid game and were able to win by double digits. However, they failed to cover the spread and flashed a few things on film Ohio State is going to circle. Let’s go.

The Game

Michigan’s offense played one of its best games of the year while the defense played one of its worst. Shea Patterson threw for 250 yards at a 57 percent clip and added another 68 on the ground. He did throw one terrible interception that prevented the Wolverines from being able to pull away early. After an Indiana fumble near mid field, Patterson gave the ball right back, overthrowing a slant route with pressure bearing down. He also under threw another couple deep balls.

With those though, I’m still not upset. The wind was howling and receivers had chances to make plays. Michigan needs to make more of them.

Karan Higdon got over the century mark again as he and Chris Evans tallied a combined 145 yards on 31 workman-like carries. Add Tru Wilson’s 42 yards on six carries and the Michigan running backs had an overall solid day.

While the Wolverines moved the ball at will, they continued to struggle turning yards into touchdowns. Jake Moody went 6-for-6 replacing the struggling Quinn Nordin, giving U-M a major boost. Without Moody’s performance, Michigan could’ve been in trouble here.

Now, in other games some of Moody’s kicks may have been chances to go for it on fourth down. But Harbaugh seemed content with burying the Hoosiers death by 1,000 cuts style. Emotionally, having a kicker grab you three points at the end of drives is significantly better than the alternative of eye rolls and surrender cobras you see when kickers miss. We’ll take it.

Defensively, Michigan was somewhat exposed. I get that 16-of-35 for 195 yards, one score and one pick isn’t exactly lighting the world on fire, but Peyton Ramsey was very good. The thing is, the same looks he hit this weekend were there against Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin. The difference was Ramsey did a better job of hitting his targets.

Michigan plays hyper aggressive and it’s possible to get speedy receivers matched up against safeties across the middle. The Hoosiers lived off this, constantly getting Metellus, Kinnel and Hudson one-on-one against receivers on drags and slants. They struggled a bit. Unlike previous games, where the Michigan defensive line rattled opposing QBs early, forcing errant throws, Ramsey was mostly composed.

Additionally, some of the late 2017, early 2018 struggles against the run came back into the fold. A week after giving up an 80-yard run to Rutgers, it was disappointing to see Don Brown’s defense struggle on the ground again. Ohio State certainly is going to pick a handful of things from this game they can exploit with better athletes. Michigan needs a good week of practice and preparation.

Overall, it was a solid win. Indiana always plays Michigan tough, and yesterday was no exception to that rule. With that said, when you’re upset at your defense giving up 20 points (only three in the second half) and holding a quarterback to under 50 percent completion percentage, you’ve gotten spoiled. Yesterday was a bit of reality. Hopefully with Ohio State on the menu, Harbaugh is able to put on a show.

Looking Ahead

In another universe, Pigrome completes that pass and Michigan heads into the Shoe with a Big Ten Championship bid locked up and concerns whether the Buckeyes are a quality enough win to keep their playoff spot.

But that’s not our simulation. Michigan and Ohio State will square off in what could amount to the equivalent of a National Quarterfinal. The winner will play Northwestern for the Big Ten crown and assuming no shenanigans, has a date with Alabama after that. Yikes.

Ohio State has not looked good this year defensively. They can be torn apart on the ground and through the air. Higdon should be in line for a big afternoon. I’ll also predict right now that a receiver cracks 100 yards for the first time in like two years. Getting crazy.

In 2016 and 2017, Harbaugh brought his best game plans of the season into the Buckeye matchup. This allowed U-M to open up double digit leads in both of those games. Unfortunately, we know those leads wouldn’t hold, but there’s pretense for a quick start.

If Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton get the Wolverines off to a quick start again, I don’t see them relinquishing the lead. Patterson’s added element as a runner has kept defenses off balanced and made it harder for them to key on Higdon at the end of games. This was the game he was brought in for. Poor play from Wilton Speight and John O’Korn put the team behind the 8-ball in those two games. Look for Patterson to try to entrench himself in Wolverine lore forever.

Around the Country

The Throne

Alabama was tied to the Citadel 10-10 at the half. They’d finish up 50-17. Clemson thrashed Duke.


Lot’s of cupcake games this week as the SEC teams prepare for rivalry week.


Virginia Tech has lost four straight home games for the first time. Their season really cratered when Jackson went down.

Big 12

West Virginia is dead. Oklahoma is not. If the Sooners take care of business, they’ll get to play Texas in the Big 12 title game. That’d give them a chance to avenge their only loss.

Pac 12

Gardner Minshew is making a late Heisman push as the Cougars roll.

Big Ten

How awesome would it be to see Rutgers beat the Spartans next week and Michigan State ends its season on three straight Ls?

Dan’s Picks (26-32-2; 2-3 last week)

Nebraska +7.5 @ Iowa

UCF -13.5 @ USF

Oregon -14 @ Oregon State

Michigan @ Ohio State +3.5

Utah State +3 @ Boise State